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Last week we witnessed history. Last month we watched Republican, hypocritical and prejudiced senators try to stop that from happening. Thankfully the right side prevailed and we are going to see the first black woman take her seat as an Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court. It was a beautiful moment to see Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmed and to see her emotion in realizing the actuality of the moment. I had goosebumps as I watched the first black Vice President announce the confirmation, followed by senators giving her a standing ovation for several minutes. I was mesmerized and proud. But just as I was basking in that moment, I simultaneously watched the very senators that tried to prevent history childishly walk out of the room rather than congratulate our new justice. This was a sad and stark reminder of our current state of politics.
We don’t do what is right or logical anymore. We allow the parties to dictate our decisions. We stand for nothing other than hot ticket and election issues. Ketanji Brown Jackson is more than qualified to sit on the highest court in this country. She comes with a wealth of knowledge and personal experience that will be extremely beneficial to the court, such as being appointed to the United States District Court and Court of Appeals, presiding as the vice chair/commissioner of the United States Sentencing Commission, and serving as an assistant federal public defender and assistant special counsel to the United States Sentencing Commission to name just a few of her accomplishments. In fact, Jackson was confirmed and deemed qualified to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals by some of the very senators that now want to assert she is not qualified in the name of a Republican.
I think based on the above it is clear that the Senate confirmation hearings were not questioning her skill, but her being. And unfortunately, the questioning of Ketanji Brown Jackson will not cease with the ending of the confirmation hearing. She will constantly be nitpicked for every move, decision, and opinion. Her position on the court has been politicized rather than valued as an asset. The disrespectful, disparaging and demeaning display executed by Republican senators perfectly illustrates why we are just not confirming our first black woman to the United States Supreme Court.
There is this Republican false narrative circulating that the Democrats are hypocritical in confirming Ketanji Brown Jackson, specifically pointing fingers at President Biden. The story is that Former President George W Bush nominated the first black woman to the United States Supreme Court but Joe Biden and Democrats at the time threatened to filibuster that nomination. Republicans want you to believe that the Democrats do not really care about Brown Jackson but just wanted to be the first to nominate under their administration. Listen, I am sure there is pride in knowing that the first black woman will be confirmed to the highest court under your administration, but the untruths of this narrative must be corrected.
Former President George W. Bush never nominated a black woman to the Supreme Court. He only considered Janice Rogers Brown and it never moved any further. It is true that Joe Biden and fellow democrats did not want to confirm her but it was not because of her being black. It was due to her radical decision making as a judge. And they were not the only ones who shared this sentiment. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse civil and human rights coalition, expressed opposition to the confirmation of Janice Rogers Brown when she was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Their reasoning was based on Brown’s record as a radically conservative California Supreme Court judge where she demonstrated a strong, persistent, and disturbing hostility toward affirmative action, civil rights, the rights of individuals with disabilities, workers’ rights, and the fairness of the criminal justice system. Ketanji Brown Jackson is NOT Janice Rogers Brown. Her record does not reflect such polarizing views but does bring a level of experience and expertise that currently does not exist on the Supreme Court.
You know despite the Republicans doing what they seem to do best these days, that is spreading false information and actually believing it, this lie made me ask this question, “Who never even got to try?”
What do I mean by that? These days you do not see a lot of “firsts”. Think about it…so much has been accomplished, barriers have been broken, and opportunities that our ancestors dreamed of are being realized. But when you see a “first”, do you think about all the others that never even had the opportunity to attempt to be a “first”. How many qualified black women were overlooked at the chance to be on the Supreme Court due to their gender and the color of their skin. Just because someone is the first does not mean that others similarly situated were not qualified. That is why the nomination and confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson is so symbolic. She stands on the shoulders of all the black women that never even got to try, but were well qualified. Additionally, what she represents to a future generation of black women is invaluable. We feel exemplified. And that is why in the words of Senator Cory Booker, we will not allow the failed actions of Republican senators to “steal my joy”.
Xo Honestly, Rach